DR. VINCENT HARDING: JULY 25, 1931 - MAY 22, 2014
I had occasion to meet with Dr. Vincent Harding eleven months before his passing. He was in process of moving into a new office on the grounds of Iliff School of Theology, Denver, CO. I found him deeply engaged in his work and curious about mine. Towards the end of the meeting I posed my burning question bluntly: "You know IAF. You know Colorado. Should we establish a presence here?" His answer was swift and clear: "Yes!" We went on to discuss the why. He offered contacts and wise counsel.
After an hour I concluded the meeting. We shook hands and embraced. He stopped me on the way out, went to one of his half assembled bookshelves and pulled two volumes. He opened one while seating himself behind his desk. "I want you to have these," he said, as he wrote something in one of them. He handed both books to me. I expressed my gratitude for the meeting and the gifts. Then we shook hands and embraced again.
On the sidewalk outside his office I scanned both titles. Hope and History, Why We Must Share the Story of the Movement and Martin Luther King, The Inconvenient Hero both by Vincent Harding. I found the page with his writing in bold, clear script in the MLK. It read: "For my brother, Frank, with great appreciation for your work in King's spirit. Go right on. Vincent H."
Krista Tippett interviewed Dr. Harding for her On Being program. Listen here. Those who knew him and those who didn't will be the beneficiary of a listen. Thanks to Paul Turner of the IAF for bringing this interview to my attention.